The average gamer is now 37-years-old

The Entertainment Software Association has just released its annual report.

The 2011 Essential Facts study was conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and consisted of a poll of 1,200 console-owning households. The ESA has been commissioning this study for several years and uses the results as its main talking points whenever it has to represent the gaming industry.

This year, it found the average game player is 37, which means most of them have probably been playing games their whole adult life.

18% of gamers are under the age of 18, 53% are between 18 and 49, and 29% are over 50. These statistics have steadily and consistently gone up every year, proving that gaming is not just some phase that kids go through; it’s a new form of entertainment that is as timeless as movies or music.

Another interesting statistic is the gender divide; while males do account for the majority of gamers, it’s not a vast majority. 42% of this country’s gamers are women, while 58% are men.

Some skeptics scoff at the ESA’s annual findings because it considers anyone who plays a casual PC game, like solitaire, as a gamer. But then again, that is still a video game. In total, the ESA says that 81 million households in the US now include at least one person who plays games – that’s 72% of the country.

In addition to lobbying on behalf of game companies, the Washington, DC-based ESA is the parent organization of the game ratings board (ESRB) and manages the world’s largest annual video game trade show, E3.